Chris Billam-Smith beats Richard Riakporhe in Rematch

In a stunning turn of events at Selhurst Park, Chris Billam-Smith avenged his sole career defeat by securing a decisive victory over Richard Riakporhe.

Riakporhe (17-1, 13 KOs), who came into the bout with a streak of five consecutive knockouts, failed to find his rhythm in a match characterized by frequent clinches and physical exchanges. Billam-Smith (20-1, 13 KOs) outmaneuvered his opponent, effectively nullifying Riakporhe's powerful right hand and maintaining higher activity levels throughout the fight. Whenever the fighters engaged in close quarters, it was Billam-Smith who consistently appeared more industrious and effective.

The referee intervened several times to warn both fighters for their rough tactics, but it was Riakporhe who ultimately incurred a penalty in the 12th round for excessive head use. Despite this point deduction, the outcome was clear: one judge scored the bout 116-111 for Billam-Smith, while the other two had it 115-112. Meanwhile, Bad Left Hook's scorecard read 118-109, despite the scrappy nature of the contest making it challenging to judge.

Billam-Smith’s performance was markedly sharper than his last fight against Mateusz Masternak, prompting speculation about potential unification bouts with contenders like Gilberto Ramirez, Noel Mikaelian, or Jai Opetaia. With the Riakporhe chapter closed and his WBO mandatory obligation fulfilled, Billam-Smith now looks beyond the European stage.

Ben Whittaker Fails to Impress in Co-Feature Against Eworitse Ezra Arenyeka

In the co-feature, Tokyo silver medalist Ben Whittaker extended his unbeaten record but delivered an underwhelming performance against fellow undefeated fighter Eworitse Ezra Arenyeka.

Whittaker (8-0, 5 KOs) was clearly the superior fighter, displaying greater speed, mobility, and precision against Arenyeka (12-1, 10 KOs). However, his inability to deliver a high-level knockout disappointed those expecting a more thrilling bout. Arenyeka’s resilience and occasional counterattacks kept Whittaker from indulging in excessive showboating, leading to a match that, while high in volume, lacked significant tension.

The bout's most notable moment came after the seventh round, when Whittaker's playful attempt to guide Arenyeka to his corner resulted in a headbutt, and later, Arenyeka lost a point for elbowing. Whittaker managed to land a solid combination in the closing seconds, though it did little to change the fight's trajectory.

Ultimately, Whittaker secured the win with scores of 100-89, 99-90, and 99-90, but the performance left many wondering about his true potential at the highest levels of the sport.

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